11 votes

Squirel Cage Jail

226 Pearl St, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503 USA

Open Now
Tue 10a-4p
  • Independent
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“haunted jail built in 1885”

The Jail was built in 1885 and was in continuous use until 1969. It was acquired by the Council Bluffs Park Board in 1971 for preservation, and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 by the United States Government. The Historical Society led an effort in 1977 to save the jail, and today owns and operates the facility. The design and size of the Historic Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail make it a one-of-a-kind structure. It was one of 18 revolving (“squirrel cage”, "human rotary", or "lazy Susan") jails built. It is the only three-story one ever built. Built at a cost of about $30,000, our unique jail has three floors of revolving pie-shaped cells inside a cage. The front part of the building had offices for the jailer, kitchen, trustee cells, and quarters for women.

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Reviewed by

  • 5 Reviews
  • 7 Helpful
June 26, 2018

I was so looking forward to seeing this but unlike what their website states it is not open daily. We stopped by on a Wednesday and it was closed. Sign states open Thursday- Sunday. Building look awesome town was really cute. On the plus side there is a pretty cool park across the street with a foundation and a splash pad.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 4 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
June 20, 2017

Seasonal Hours - Thursday, Friday, Saturday 11-4 Check Facebook page.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
April 02, 2017
Rated 4.0

My 12 year old grandson and I stopped here on our road trip. Very interesting and informative tour. It was more crowded then I expected. I would've given it 5 stars, but the tour was rather long. After close to an hour, we left the tour. Unfortunately, the guide hadn't gotten into to the ghost story part yet.
Definitely recommend as a stop on any road trip!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
August 11, 2014

Only spent about an hour there, but it was fasinating!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 18 Reviews
  • 21 Helpful
July 30, 2014
Rated 3.0

Interesting design for a jail. Was there 45 minutes.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
June 07, 2014

This place is amazing and the guide had a lot of knowledge about the place great place

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
A. Crews

  • 55 Reviews
  • 90 Helpful
March 28, 2014

Seriously interesting place not only for the architecture and the jail itself but also for the ghost stories. Great story about a sheriff's deputy that I won't ruin for you it needs to be see to be believed - if you have the chance definitely stop by.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 4 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
April 08, 2017
Rated 5.0

It was absolutely amazing! I truly enjoyed stopping here. The tour guide was very knowledgeable about the facility and it was very obvious she enjoys her work. I purposely stayed overnight in the area so I could see this Jail and I'm so happy I did! It was completely worth it!

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Reviewed by
Megan Bannister

  • Road Warrior
  • 135 Reviews
  • 102 Helpful
September 14, 2015
Rated 5.0

Definitely worth a stop if you're in the area! This is the only three-story rotary-style jail ever built and a unique part of the area's history. Especially if you love unique architecture or haunted histories, this museum is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

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Squirel Cage Jail

226 Pearl St
Council Bluffs, Iowa
51503 USA


Open now until 4:00 pm
  • Tue - Sat: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Sun: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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